on 13 August 2009
Ouch! Within the first 13 pages I had found so many errors that I was getting a bit uptight! Examples: page 5. "she set off for North Hamptonshire". It was then that I realized that the author was American. Please, it's Northamptonshire! I won't dwell on the fact that Mrs. Baldry, when the bombing got too close, would flee, with family, to her sister's place in Somerset (page 6). Kingsbury to Somerset? Over 150 miles! "Quick, there's an Air Raid, get packed and start walking". Moved to Liverpool in '45 but this wasn't safe. Although the Luftwaffe were finished there were those damn V1s and V2s (page 7). Not in Liverpool there weren't! Their range didn't extend to the North West of England. All of Britain rejoiced when the war ended on September 2nd. 1945 (page 8). Britain actually rejoiced on VE Day, 8th. May 1945. The War may have carried on and Japan finally signed the surrender on 2nd. September but, to the majority of Britons, Victory was in May. "While attending Harrow School (page 12) - which, as he liked to point out - Sir Winston Churchill had also attended". Harrow is a Public School which Sir Winston attended. John may have attended a School in Harrow but it wasn't THE Harrow School. O.K. I may be getting a bit picky but I, a Brit, knew without checking that these were not "facts". A bit more research from the author would have helped. John (who, by the way, I was a great fan of) was obviously a bit economical with the truth. Later on (page 48) John is telling Nick Orchard (apparently a Vancouver based Film Maker) that Howling Wolf (Smokestack Lightning) had got in the top 5 and Sonny Boy Williamson (Help Me) reached number 1. I had, for another reason, been checking the hit records in Britain, of Blues stars, the previous night (sad but true). I knew that Howling Wolf had made the top 50 (in fact he made #42 in 1964) and that Sonny Boy had NEVER had a hit, let alone a #1! Long John may say these things but PLEASE CHECK.
Having said all that the book is not all bad! I am enjoying it (as a fan of Long John) and, once it gets into the more documented history of music, it's OK.
One more thing. On page 48 "Singer Big Jim Sullivan" appeared on R & B at the Marquee. Now, I'm not an expert but I do know that Big Jim Sullivan was a TOP session guitarist, could he also be a singer? According to Wikipedia Sullivan is credited with "vocal chorus" on this LP. I would have checked this before I wrote the book (but I'm a Brit and know, instinctively, that this is wrong).
If you're a Long John fan buy it otherwise .....